Licensing and Insurance for Volunteers
License Renewal Fees
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will pay the license renewal fees for licensed health care providers (including dentists and dental hygienists) who only wish to use their Washington State professional license for volunteer work. The volunteers need not be officially “retired” to be eligible for either of these programs. Many people choose to take time off from paid work for other reasons (such as maternity or paternity leave), in which case they would still be able to utilize the license renewal benefit. However, they cannot be paid for dental work in any venue, and they must be currently licensed when they apply for this program.
Dentists can volunteer through any approved venue, as long as the care they provide is non-invasive and they don’t receive any remuneration for their service. By definition, non-invasive dental care includes diagnosis, oral hygiene, restoration and extractions. This program is administered by the Western Washington Area Health Education Center (WWAHEC). To apply for this program, please visit www.wwahec.org and download the registration form.
The free license renewal by the Department of Health does carry the same CE requirements as all other (paid) professional license renewals. Volunteers are able to cover some of their CE through their volunteer work if the site/clinic tracks the time. They can offset 7 of the 21 required CE hours through volunteer work. Additionally, the WSDA—through our annual Pacific Northwest Dental Conference (PNDC)—offers a complimentary conference badge for retired WWAHEC volunteers. By attending the PNDC, the retired dentist can obtain an additional 14 of the 21 credits required. For information about the complimentary conference badge, contact us at (800) 448-3368 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) license renewal for prescription drug writing, unfortunately, is not covered by anyone but the volunteer. The fee is around $600. In some settings, the clinic pays for one volunteer’s DEA license renewal and that volunteer does all of the prescribing. Since it’s a federal license, DOH can’t do much to change who has to pay.
Although this program is known as the “Volunteer/Retired Providers Program,” the Western Washington Area Health Education Center can provide malpractice insurance to volunteers who are not retired, as long as they don’t already have coverage for the volunteer work through other malpractice policies. Additionally, the volunteer dentist who works part-time elsewhere may still be eligible for malpractice insurance for his/her volunteer work. The malpractice insurance offered by their part-time employer cannot cover their volunteer efforts, and the dentist will have to apply for this program. To apply for this program, please visit www.wwahec.org to obtain an application.
Processing for both the free licensing renewal and malpractice insurance takes about two to three weeks. To apply for the free licensing fee, the dentist must be within three months of a license renewal. WWAHEC’s contact person is Jana Lindner and her phone number is (206) 441-7137.